Presentation on theme: "7 THE MASS MEDIA. 7 THE MASS MEDIA Chapter Outline Sociological Perspectives of the Media The Audience The Media Industry Social Policy and Mass Media:"— Presentation transcript:
3 Chapter Outline Sociological Perspectives of the Media The Audience The Media IndustrySocial Policy and Mass Media: Media Violence
4 Sociological Perspective of the Media Figure 7.1: Rise of the Mass MediaSource: Author’s calculations based on Bureau of Census, 1975: 43, 783, 796; 2000a: 567: Newburger 2001; Television Bureau of Advertisers 2001
5 Sociological Perspective of the Media Functionalist ViewAgent of Socialization--The media increases social cohesion by presenting a more or less standardized common view of culture through mass communication.--Mass media provides a collective experience for members of a society.-- “The Internet has become for many the public commons, a place where they can come together and talk.” (Miller and Darlington 2002)
6 Sociological Perspective of the Media Functionalist ViewThe most obvious function of mass media is to entertain.While this is true, we may be overlooking other important functions of mass media.
7 Sociological Perspective of the Media Functionalist ViewEnforcer of Social Norms--The media often reaffirms proper behavior by showing what happens to people who act in a way that violates societal expectations.--The media plays a critical role in shaping perceptions about the risks of substance use, although not necessarily in a positive fashion.
8 Sociological Perspective of the Media Functionalist ViewConferral of Status--The mass media confers status on people, organizations, and public issues.--The media singles out one from thousands of other similarly placed issues or people to become significant.
9 Sociological Perspective of the Media Table 7.1: Status Conferred by Magazines
10 Sociological Perspective of the Media Functionalist ViewSurveillance of the Social Environment--The surveillance function refers to the collection and distribution of information concerning events in the social environment.--The media collect and distribute facts about a variety of events and generally define what “constitutes a fact” to be reported.--In defining events to be reported, the media reflects the values and orientation of the decision makers within media organizations.
11 Sociological Perspective of the Media Functionalist ViewDysfunctional Media: The Narcotizing Effect--Narcotizing dysfunction: the phenomenon whereby the media provide such massive amounts of information that the audience becomes numb and generally fails to act on the information.--Interested citizens may take in the information, but they may make no decision or take no action.
12 Sociological Perspective of the Media Conflict ViewConflict theorists emphasize that the media reflect and even exacerbate many of the divisions of our society and world, including those based on gender, race, ethnicity, and social class.They point in particular to the media’s ability to decide what gets transmitted through gatekeeping.
13 Sociological Perspective of the Media Conflict ViewGatekeeping--The mass media constitute a form of big business in which profits are generally more important than the quality of the product.--Within the mass media, a relatively small number of people control what material eventually reaches the audience, a process known as gatekeeping.--Gatekeeping is not as dominant in the Internet.
14 Sociological Perspective of the Media Conflict ViewDominant Ideology: Constructing Reality--Conflict theorists argue that the mass media serve to maintain the privileges of certain groups.--While protecting their own interests, powerful groups may limit the representation of others in the media.Continued...
15 Sociological Perspective of the Media Conflict ViewDominant Ideology: Constructing Reality--Dominant ideology: the set of cultural beliefs and practices that help to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests.--The media transmit messages that virtually define what we regard as the real world, even though these images are frequently at wide variance from the larger society.--Stereotypes: False images of a particular group that become accepted as accurate portrayals of reality.
16 Sociological Perspective of the Media Conflict ViewDominant Ideology: Whose Culture?--Globalization projects the dominating reach of the U.S. media into the rest of the world.--These media-cultural exports undermine the distinctive traditions and art forms of other societies and encourage their cultural and economic dependence on the United States.
17 Sociological Perspective of the Media Feminist ViewFeminists continue the argument advanced by conflict theorists that the mass media stereotype and misrepresent social reality.The media are a powerful influence on how we look at men and women, and, according to this view, their images of the sexes communicate unrealistic, stereotypical, and limiting perceptions.
18 Sociological Perspective of the Media Feminist ViewThree Problems Arising From Media Coverage:Women are underrepresentedMen and women are portrayed in ways that reflect and perpetuate stereotypical views of genderDepictions of male-female relationships emphasize traditional sex roles and normalize violence against women
19 Sociological Perspective of the Media Interactionist ViewInteractionists are especially interested in shared understandings of everyday behavior.They examine the media on the microlevel to see how they shape day-to-day social behavior.Scholars increasingly point to the mass media as the source of major daily activity.The interactionist perspective also helps us to understand more about one important aspect of the entire mass media system—the audience.
20 The Audience Who is the Audience? Mass media distinguished from other social institutions by the necessary presence of an audience.It can be an identifiable, finite group or a much larger, undefined group.
21 The Audience Who is the Audience? Microsociological view of audience: Considers how audience members interacting among themselves would respond to the media.Macrosociological view of audience: Considers the broader societal consequences of the media.Audiences vary in their composition.
22 The Audience The Segmented Audience The media is increasingly marketing themselves to a particular audience.This specialization is driven by advertising.Members of these audiences are more likely to expect content geared to their own interests.This specialized targeting of audiences has led some scholars to ponder whether there is still a “mass” in mass media.
23 The Audience Audience Behavior The role of audience members as opinion leaders intrigues social researchers.Opinion leader: someone who, through day-to-day personal contacts and communication, influences the opinions and decisions of others.
24 The Audience Audience Behavior Audience members do not all interpret media in the same way.Their response is often influenced by social characteristics such as occupation, race, education, and income.
25 The Media Industry Media Concentration A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the publishing, broadcasting, and film industries.Without government intervention, media giants will continue to grow as long as there are benefits to being large.
26 The Media IndustryFigure 7.2: Media in Selected Countries
27 The Media Industry Media Concentration Concerns Over Media Concentration:--Is the public interest being best served by the growing concentration of media?--Will innovation and independence decline as media empires grow?--In some countries, gatekeeping is controlled by political leaders who desire to maintain control of the government.--The Internet is a significant exception to the centralization and concentration of media.
28 The Media Industry The Media’s Global Reach Mass media has begun to create a global village in terms of communication.Not all countries are equally connected.The media permeate all aspects of everyday life.The Internet is the key to creating a truly global network that reaches into workplaces, schools, and homes.People are concerned that unhealthy influences and even crime are taking place in today’s electronic global village.
29 The Media Industry1984198919931997199820008.215.022.836.618.042.126.251.041.5Percent of households with a computerPercent of households with Internet accessComputers and Internet Access in the Home: 1984 to 2000Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census The Population Profile of the United States: Figure (Internet Release) accessed at
30 The Media Industry *Among children in families. 94.2 Home computer accessSchool computer useTotal access94.283.565.334.587.385.779.871.798.796.590.078.5$75,000 or more$50,000 to $74,999$25,000 to $49,999Less than $25,000*Among children in families.Percent of Children Age 6 to 17 Who Have Computer Access at Home and School by Annual Family Income: August 2000Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census The Population Profile of the United States: Figure (Internet Release) accessed at
31 The Media Industry 22.2 Email 32.7 10.0 Information searches 23.9 6.0 News, weather, sportsSchool research or coursesJob-related tasks22.232.710.023.96.019.620.79.012.5Percent of children 3 to 17 yearsPercent of adults 18 years and overAdults and Children Using the Internet for a Specific Task: August 2000Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census The Population Profile of the United States: Figure (Internet Release) accessed at
32 Social Policy and Mass media Media ViolenceThe Issue--What effect does movie and TV violence have on audiences?--Does violence in the media lead people, especially youth, to become more violent?
33 Social Policy and Mass media Media ViolenceThe Setting--We spend a great deal of time with the media.--Does watching hours of mass media with violent images cause one to behave differently?--Some studies have linked exposure to media violence to subsequent aggressive behavior.--It is important to recognize that other factors besides the media are also related to aggressive behavior.
34 Social Policy and Mass media Media ViolenceSociological Insights--If the function of media is to entertain, socialize, and enforce social norms, how can violence be a part of that message?--Even if the viewer does not necessarily become more violent from watching violent images, there could be a desensitization taking place.Continued...
35 Social Policy and Mass media Media ViolenceSociological Insights--Both conflict and feminist theorists are troubled that the victims depicted in violent imagery are often those who are given less respect in real life: women, children, the poor, racial minorities, citizens of foreign countries, and even the physically disabled.--Interactionists are especially interested in finding out if violence in media may then become a script for real-life behavior.
36 Social Policy and Mass media Media ViolencePolicy Initiatives--Policymakers have responded to links between violence depicted in the media and real life aggression in two ways:Public statements of support for family-oriented, less violent media contentReluctance to pass laws that could be regarded as censorship.